Published in Issue 3 (May/June 2023), Volume 31


The subject of a fascinating biography by Mary Gallagher in the O’Brien Press 16 Lives series, Éamonn Ceannt is perhaps one of the less familiar signatories of the 1916 Proclamation to contemporary Ireland. Yet his influence on Irish traditional music was enormous, as a talented uileann piper and a founding member of the Dublin Pipers’ Club in 1900. Ceannt’s pipes usually reside in the Curragh Camp Military Museum, but now they are to make an appearance at Connacht Fleadh in Ballina from 23 June to 2 July. They will be on display during the Fleadh in the Jackie Clarke Collection Museum, a treasure trove of items relating to revolutionary Irish history. See


Iain Dale is best known as a political commentator and as a regular contributor to shows like Newsnight and the Andrew Marr show in the UK. Following on from his popular podcast series exploring former British prime ministers, he has just launched The Irish Taoiseach, a series of fifteen podcasts about each of the fifteen men to have served as taoiseach (that’s including W.T. Cosgrave, who was ‘President of the Executive Council’). The first episode features historian Ciara Meehan exploring Cosgrave. As Iain lays it out in his introduction, ‘You might think it’s odd for a Brit to do this … initially I thought someone from Ireland would have beat me to it, but clearly not.’ He acknowledges that contemporary politics have made him consider just how little he knew of Irish political history and served as the catalyst to begin this journey. Available across all podcast streaming platforms.


Operating Theatre was both a band and an experimental theatre group, founded by composer Roger Doyle and performer Olwen Fouéré. A collection of their material has now been re-released by All City Records. Along with singer Elena López, they produced some excellent experimental music for Mother Records, a label established by U2 in 1984. Lopez, who arrived in Dublin in 1982, recalled that ‘Dublin was charmingly gloomy and poor, and had the highest content of artists per square metre that I had ever encountered’. This unusual collection of recordings is just the type of thing that All City Records have been hunting for in recent years, re-releasing such experimental moments in Irish musical history under their ‘Allchival’ imprint. See


Few footballers captured the imagination of the League of Ireland community like Jimmy Hasty, star of Dundalk FC in the 1960s. From Belfast’s Sailortown, Hasty’s 100 goals over six seasons with the club were all the more impressive given that he had only one arm, having lost the other as a teenager in Belfast. The story of Hasty ended tragically, and it’s been noted that ‘when his football career ended in the 1970s, he returned to Belfast where he was tragically shot dead by paramilitaries in a random tit-for-tat shooting. He is aptly remembered as Jimmy Wonder.’ A new documentary on UEFA TV explores the life and times of a player who made it to European competitive football against all the odds. See


Above: Members of Operating Theatre in the mid-1980s—Olwen Fouéré, Seán Devitt, Roger Doyle and Elena López. (Allchival/All City Records)

In the 1890s, human remains were taken from the island of Inisbofin by academic researchers without the consent of the islanders. Professor Alfred C. Haddon of the Old Anatomy Museum of Trinity College, Dublin, later openly admitted smuggling skulls from a graveyard attached to St Colman’s Church from the island. While such practice is rightly viewed as morally wrong today, it was not uncommon in the nineteenth century internationally. Museums and other institutions have found themselves confronted by such cases in recent times. The decision has now been made by Trinity College to return the remains. In a statement, Provost Linda Doyle acknowledged ‘the upset that was caused by our retaining of these remains and I thank the Inishbofin community for their advocacy and engagement with us on this issue … We will now work with the community to ensure that the remains are returned in a respectful manner and in accordance with the community’s wishes.’ The return of the remains had been recommended in a report late last year, which acknowledged the ‘paradigm shift in museum practice in this area’.


Good news: the Dublin Festival of History will be returning to its familiar home in the Printworks building of Dublin Castle in 2023. Running from 25 September to 15 October, this will mark the eleventh edition of the annual event. A number of discussions and events from the 2022 festival are available on-line to view, including a discussion with History Ireland editor Tommy Graham on the 30th anniversary of the magazine. See


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